I started the week with an interesting outing. I had never climbed Morse Mountain in the winter, and decided it was high time! I also wanted to investigate a flickering tower I had seen on the top, so decided to brave the ice. Actually, the road wasn't as icy as I expected. From the parking lot up to the first turn off, the road had been plowed and one had to avoid the ice. From there on, it was just walking on trails in the snow. A vehicle of some sort had driven up, and snowshoers had left tracks. It was relatively easy going on the snow, about 4 inches deep. When I came down to the marsh, I was not surprised to find the road was free of snow and ice. Recent high tides must have removed the wintery mix. It was interesting to see the ice formations in pools, and filling the trench that carries tidal water. I crossed the bridge where the tide was trying to flow out under the ice, and headed toward the top of the mountain. I did see deer tracks, though not as many as one sees at the campground. This snow cover has been around for a week with very little melting. Tracks deteriorate in their edging, so it wasn't the best for identification.

As I approached the loop at the top, there was no doubt in my mind that porcupines had set up housekeeping. There were a lot of evergreen branches on the ground under a tree that also had chewed bark patches. I followed the tracks that led a short way into a hole in a pile of rocks. I found more evidences of these animals dining on the trees, but wasn't able to locate one. Maybe they heard me coming, but to be truthful, porcupines tend to continue eating and chewing when I have come upon them up in trees. In the picture to the right, you can see the debris under the tree and off to the bottom right are the rocks where these animals had a den.

I continued to the top, and got a close look at the tower. This is a Wind Spire and rotates slowly and quietly. Of course, there was very little wind yesterday, but for a generator, this was quite agreeable. Getting power up to the top of the mountain is not an easy task, plus who wants to view the scenery with power lines etching the landscape? This is a new installation, and it will be interesting to learn how it works in supplying energy to this remote spot. I had viewed the spire from below and puzzled about what it was. As it rotates, it sort of flickers from a distance. There are vertical flat panels that catch the wind and rotate. Interestingly enough, the houses up on the top of the mountain are being rented at this time of year. Sometimes, they have to snowshoe their belongings up to the top. I did see where tracks continued down to the beach, but I did not have time to reach that destination.

It was rather cloudy so the sunset was not as astounding as it might have been. But here is an idea of the view you may have seen in other seasons. Usually, we trek out on the exposed rocky ledges, but with a snow cover, that didn't seem like a wise idea on this day. Can you imagine feasting your eyes on winter sunrises and sunsets from this shoreline viewpoint? Wow.

The next day, I finally took the risk (with permission) of driving down to the north end of the island to check on that area. I parked at the lobster pound, and discovered the cove is now stocked with those crustaceans! I hadn't realized that was being done this year. There are now two floating vessels in the dammed cove - one equipped with a motor to move about and feed any active animals, and another more stationary float where lobsters may be brought to be packaged and checked for delivery. All of this activity is pretty much on hold since the price of lobsters remains very low. Stocking and holding these animals is only profitable if the price goes up when the demand increases. I will try to check on the activity in the days to come. The island road is icy in places, but is kept open as the wharf continues to sell bait and buy lobster catches from hearty winter lobstering. I did check the trails and beaches while down on the north end, enjoying the scenery but not finding much in the way of tidal debris. I found one Sanddollar on the beach given its name! 1/14/10 Ronnie on the mountain and checking the shoreline.